Dec. 22, 2009
By Mark Schmetzer
Chazz Anderson was born with one obstacle to doing his job more effectively over the next week or so.
He's right-handed. Tim Tebow, the University of Florida quarterback Anderson is supposed to mimic as signal-caller of the University of Cincinnati scout team, is left-handed.
"Luckily, I don't have to throw left-handed," Anderson said with a smile Monday night while taking a break from playing games at Dave and Buster's in Sharonville during a university event to celebrate the Bearcats' matchup with the Gators at the Allstate Sugar Bowl in New Orleans on New Year's Day.
UC's second consecutive Big East championship team will meet the Southeastern Conference runner-up and last year's national champion in the Bearcats' first-ever appearance in the Sugar Bowl. The 20-year-old Anderson's job leading up to the game is to give the starting defense an idea of what it will feel like to face Tebow in the Super Dome. The job of impersonating the intense, multi-talented Tebow - who's won one Heisman Trophy and been among the five finalists for two others - might seem overwhelming to many, but Anderson was feeling pretty comfortable.
"There really aren't that many differences in the offenses," said the 6-foot, 209-pound Pickerington, Ohio, native, who is looking forward to his first visit to New Orleans. "They have a few more wrinkles for a running quarterback, but it's not much more work to learn Florida's offense than it was for other teams. It's more the quality of your work than the quantity.
"For me, it's a tremendous honor to be associated with a player like Tebow, who plays the game the way it's supposed to be played - on and off the field."
The third-year sophomore also was hoping that the work he does in the next couple of weeks will impress the new coach Butch Jones and his staff enough to give him a solid shot at regaining the starting job he held midway through the 2008 season.
Anderson became the third quarterback to start for the Bearcats after starter Dustin Grutza and backup Tony Pike both went down with injuries. UC went 2-0 in his two starts. He was 16-of-26 for 158 yards and two touchdowns with one interception and also ran for a touchdown in a win over Marshall. He followed up by going 21-for-29 for 239 yards in a Big East win over Rutgers.
His performance emphasized UC's depth at quarterback.
"We're probably the only team in the country who's 6-0 the last two years with backups starting," said Ryan Koslen, UC's associate sports communications director.
Pike's return as the starter and the development of Anderson's classmate, Zach Collaros, into a starting-caliber backup left Anderson relegated to the scout team.
"It's truly humbling, but there's a reason why I'm on the scout team," he said. "I look at this as an opportunity to show what I can do. We all do. I feel like we have an all-star team of scout teams. Guys like me and (redshirt freshman wide receiver) Danny Milligan - we're all hoping to get an opportunity. Meanwhile, we're just trying to have fun."